Written by Tanya Koob
Most of us would love to spend spring break on a tropical beach somewhere, but Lake Louise has its own magic and appeal that draws visitors from around the world. Play tourist for a few days and see why this destination is bucket-list worthy for so many people.
- Enjoy skating on one of the world’s most beautiful ice rinks. Did you know that you can still go ice skating on a real mountain lake even into early April? Lake Louise will still be very frozen over spring break, and the rink in front of the Chateau gets cleared of snow regularly. You can also rent skates in the hotel should you need to.
- Play in gigantic mountains of snow around the lake. While you’re up at the lake skating, you’ll discover that Lake Louise still has epic amounts of snow to play in, and kids love climbing on the big snow piles. There’s also a fun sledding hill beside the Chateau which is usually in fabulous condition through April without a trace of dirt. (Bring your own sleds).
- Spend a day at the Lake Louise Ski Resort. It's nice planning a spring ski weekend knowing it's not going to be -30C on the ski hill and that you’ll be able to ski multiple runs back-to-back without having to go inside and warm up. For many families, spring is the only comfortable time to go skiing. Check the ski resort website for special slopeside events, concerts, and discounted seasons passes for spring skiing.
- Go cross-country skiing on the trails around Lake Louise. Many of the trails at Lake Louise still get groomed and track-set for cross-country skiing through early April. We like skiing across the lake to see the frozen icefalls, and we enjoy the easy Bow River Loop with its scenic bridges. For a longer outing, ski the Moraine Lake Road to a scenic viewpoint above the lake or ski the Great Divide Trail to the BC border where you’ll find a giant arch for great photo ops. Skis can be rented in the Village if you don’t have your own.
- Take the kids on a winter hike or try snowshoeing. You can rent snowshoes in the Village, and there are several easy trails you can try as a family. I recommend hiking across the lake to see the icefalls, or you can try the Louise Creek Trail, which connects the lake with the village below. (For this one, I recommend starting at the bottom, climbing to the lake first, and then enjoying an easy hike back down after).
For more of an adventure, take a drive up the Icefields Parkway and hike to the Peyto Lake Viewpoint at Bow Summit. It’s only a 30-minute drive to reach the trailhead and you’ll be hiking up a closed summer road most of the way. (En route, Bow Lake is a beautiful stop for photos in front of the snowy lake.)
Where to find affordable accommodations at Lake Louise
We like to stay at the HI Lake Louise Alpine Centre as a family. We book a private room that sleeps up to five people with a shared bathroom right outside the door. All rooms have access to a communal kitchen, on-site restaurant, and a beautiful fireside room with a pool table.
We like staying here because it gives us ski in/ski out accommodations for cross-country skiing (ski out the door and right onto the Bow River Loop.) You’re also a very short drive away from the lake, the ski resort, and nearby trails. You can even walk to the Village for coffee in a short five minute jaunt.
The hostel is a shared partnership between the Alpine Club of Canada and Hostelling International, so members of either group receive discounts.
There are many private rooms at the hostel along with small dorm rooms that a family would be quite comfortable in. Some of the larger family rooms also have private bathrooms.
For more information, visit the Alpine Centre’s website at hihostels.ca/en/destinations/alberta/hi-lake-louise.
Tanya is a freelance writer and mom to a spunky boy. She loves hiking, camping, skiing, and all things mountain-related. She is the author of the blog Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies, rockiesfamilyadventures.com. You can find her on Instagram @MountainMomYYC.
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